For the past 20 years, Illiano Cucina Mediterranea chefs have prepared more than 15 kinds of pasta dishes, with sauces ranging from pesto and vodka cream to alfredo and pomodoro. Veal and chicken are dressed 15 different ways, including with a marsala wine sauce with mushrooms. Out in the dining room, pale-yellow linen napkins top each table, folded to look like a blossoming flower. It’s a touch that complements the many scenic pictures of Italy’s coast on the walls, creating a setting that’s ideal for family reunions or romantic dinners.
Hearty helpings abound at Pirone's, where chefs construct a sizeable menu of steaks, seafood, pizzas, and other traditional Italian specialties. As the dinner curtain rises, feast your eyes and your lips upon an opening number of fried calamari ($11) or mussels marinara ($10) before moving on to sing the praises of a tender, boneless chicken cacciatore ($17) backed by peppers and onions, and simmering in a marinara mushroom sauce. Waiters cart plates of meat- or cheese-tortellini alfredo ($16), chosen from among more than 22 pasta picks that range from traditional spaghetti with meatballs ($22) to an eggplant-topped baked ziti ($16). Meal-goers can appease meaty appetites with a mushroom-infused veal marsala ($19) or a thick-cut steak à la Pirone ($21) topped with mushrooms, provolone, shrimp, sherry sauce, and a miniature model of the restaurant, and those who prefer sliceable sustenance can snack on a sliver of spinach-and-ricotta pizza ($8–$17) or divide a mini calzone ($7) into five mini-er calzones.
Growing up in South Philadelphia, Angelo Lutz spent hours looking on as his Italian grandmother handcrafted meals for their family. Now, as the head chef at The Kitchen Consigliere Café, Lutz tries to stay true to both Philadelphia and Italy by sourcing ingredients from local merchants and markets to craft time-tested Italian dishes. He molds gnocchi and meatballs in the kitchen and presses panini sandwiches, all the while remembering family recipes and the dangers of getting a chef hat tangled in a ceiling fan.
Amid the verdant, golf-cart-traversed grounds of Indian Spring Country Club and Pennsauken Country Club, executive chef Dean Marco blends herbs with Maryland crab meat to make his broiled jumbo lump crab cakes. The crisp yet creamy morsels, which are Marco’s signature dish, are properly placed near the top of the menu at Marco’s Restaurant, above succulent meats such as filet mignon, Atlantic salmon, and whole crabs with authentic New England accents. Given both locations’ proximity to the links, each kitchen also sates golfers’ appetites with Angus burgers and sandwich baskets that come with optional sides such as lobster-and-shrimp bisque.
Lorenzo's pizza purveyors stack disks of fresh dough with a panoply of gourmet ingredients before sliding them into brick ovens to seal in a smoky redolence. Classic pies such as the sweet Hawaiian and the basil-infused margherita send taste buds back in time more quickly than wormhole-flavored toothpaste, and innovative recipes set palates ablaze with creations such as the spicy buffalo-chicken pizza adorned with wing sauce and blue cheese. Chefs saddle up the Ranchero with bacon, spinach, and tomatoes in melty mozzarella and cool ranch dressing. Greener eats include the eggplant-parmesan pizza and the Mediterranean, which flaunts its sauceless façade with roasted peppers, spinach, olives, and garlic. A savory side of garlic knots and a two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, or Sprite accompany pizzas shared inside the eatery or savored at home in front of shamed frozen pizzas.